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2 survive small-plane crash off California coast

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 4, 2014 at 10:49 pm •  Published: January 4, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The pilot of a small airplane that experienced engine failure and went down Saturday off the Southern California coast near Catalina Island said it never occurred to him that he wouldn't survive the crash.

"I was pretty calm. You look at the situation and you realize this is what we have to deal with. I had a pretty good idea what I needed to do," said David Prizio, 62, of Tustin.

Prizio told The Associated Press that he and his lone passenger were cruising at 6,500 feet on their way to lunch on Catalina when the plane's engine suddenly died.

"I did some pretty quick math and realized I wasn't going to make it to the airport," said Prizio, a retired contractor and a pilot for some 40 years.

Prizio said he decided to try and put the single-engine Texas Sport Cub down near a cluster of pleasure boats about six miles northeast of Catalina.

"I wanted to land in front of them, hoping they would spot us," he said.

The impact shattered the windshield and the rush of water knocked off his glasses. He broke a finger but was otherwise unhurt. His passenger escaped injury.

"We were lucky that the sea was smooth and the plane didn't flip over," Prizio said.

U.S. Coast Guard and lifeguard boats and helicopters were quickly sent to the scene, but a recreational boat reached the pair first.

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